Where in the world is asparagus processed?
Asparagus should be considered a “global” crop; the world’s asparagus cultivation currently comprises 210,000 hectares, with a high concentration in Peru (20,000 ha), Mexico (20,000 ha) and China. In Europe, Germany (22,000 ha), Spain (14,000 ha) and Italy (9,000 ha) are the main producing countries. The processing sector is divided into two major markets: canning and freezing. The asparagus produced in China is largely intended to meet the need for freeze-dried and frozen asparagus. Peruvian production is also very oriented towards the processing market. In fact, it was to meet the demand for processing that asparagus was first grown in Peru. Approximately 13,200 ha (or 60%) of the 22,000 ha of asparagus produced in Peru is for processing. The United States processes half of its asparagus crop (10,000 ha), mostly green and frozen. China, Peru and the United States therefore represent the world’s top-three processed asparagus producers. South Africa also devotes a significant proportion (70%) of its crops to processing, that is to say, more than 1,800 ha. Other African countries are also developing their processed asparagus industries (see previous page). On a smaller scale, New Zealand processes 50% of its crops (about 600 ha). By contrast, Europe no longer produces much asparagus for processing. Spain processes only a small part of its production of Navarra PGI asparagus and Italy sends some green asparagus for freezing.